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Plans reveal unique Nordic Spa concept for Edmonton

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29 May 2019 (Edmonton, AB) –  A group of home-grown entrepreneurs have revealed plans to build a Scandinavian-style, indoor-outdoor spa facility to be complete by the end of next year. A traditional Nordic spa consists of working up a sweat in a wood-heated sauna, then plunging into a cold water pool, and finally relaxing in an outdoor steam bath.

The ‘Edmonton Nordic Spa’ will be a four-season wellness experience to be built in the heart of the city. The group behind it says it will “complement Edmonton’s landscape, culture, and local way of life”. 

“This will be a world-class, four-season, destination-worthy facility and we’re confident it will be warmly embraced as a regular health and wellness routine for residents of the city and surrounding area,” says Hank Van Weelden, one of the entrepreneurs behind the project and Managing Partner of Edmonton Nordic Spa. 

Heading up a group of Alberta-based investors, Van Weelden and some of his partners are the team behind Alberta’s first Nordic spa west of Calgary; Kananaskis Nordic Spa

Hank Van Weelden

Van Weelden continues: “As we’ve been developing plans with our partners over recent months and discussing how our vision for the facility will come to life, one piece that has become very clear is how we’re all 100% committed to Edmonton Nordic Spa looking and feeling exactly like Edmonton.  It’s got to have an authentic sense of the city at its core, a signature Edmonton experience.  We have always lived and done business here, so this is something that’s really important to us.”

The Nordic Spa practice, as a way of achieving full body and mind relaxation and recuperation, has been growing in popularity across Canada within recent years.  Based on the traditional Scandinavian approach to wellness, it follows the philosophy that moving between hot, warm and cold temperatures has numerous health benefits – known as hydrotherapy. 

The ownership group behind Edmonton Nordic Spa are confident that the increasing appeal of the Nordic Spa experience as wellness therapy as well as it being a relaxing leisure activity, will not only satisfy Edmontonians but will provide a draw into the city that can only benefit the regional economy. 

“We are very excited to have the Edmonton Nordic Spa come to our destination,” says Renee Williams, Director International Market Development, Tourism Edmonton. 

“Edmonton Tourism’s reason for being is to promote our incredible destination, the products and experiences within, to visitors all over the world. Unique and breathtaking experiences like the Edmonton Nordic Spa will help our team sell the destination and inspire year-round travel.”

While the exact location has not been disclosed, plans include a facility spanning two acres and featuring three distinct areas of use: social, silent, and a group gathering space.  There will be a total of eight outdoor pools (hot, warm and cold variations, with waterfall characteristics), steam and sauna rooms, two dining options including a bistro, and several massage therapy treatment rooms – to complement the hydrotherapy experience. 

“We want this to be an experience that is deeply-rooted in its place, to complement the regional landscape.” explains Michael Dub, Principal Architect. “The design of Edmonton Nordic Spa started by thinking about how guests will move around the space.  We took inspiration from the natural water flow and geological river formations along the North Saskatchewan River, and took note of how glacier water meanders down through the mountains and into the prairies. We are actively evoking the natural carvings that water makes into the regional landscape within this concept, to create a feeling of travelling upstream in the space while moving through the hydrotherapy cycle.”

As locally-based architects, well-established and ingrained into the city, Dub embarked on this project as one that needed to feel truly ‘Edmontonian’.

“The team thought a lot about how the Nordic spa practice relates to Canada, and to Edmonton.  For example, we knew it was important to not only have the typical solo / silent areas you’d expect to find in Nordic spa facilities for meditation and relaxation, but also to incorporate a social area for guests to communicate and connect with one another during their time there; we think residents, users and visitors to the heart of the city will enjoy this fusion of wellness and community at Edmonton Nordic Spa”, says Dub.

This understanding of how a tradition that is derived from Scandinavia translates to the rituals and tastes of Canadians is something Managing Partner Van Weelden is particularly passionate about.  As a serial entrepreneur and fan of physical endurance programs, he’s visited many across North America seeking relaxation and respite from both work and demands on his body.

When the opportunity arose to create a Canadian take on the Scandinavian wellness tradition in Kananaskis Country, just one hour west of Calgary, he and his colleagues gladly took on the challenge. They opened the first Nordic Spa in Alberta in Kananaskis in March 2018.

“We’ve seen with immense satisfaction, our first spa project in Kananaskis become a great success – and so warmly welcomed by Albertans,” Van Weelden adds. “We’re a city that has a vibrant, culturally-rich festival summer season, and we all know how long Edmonton’s winters can be. Taking the time to rejuvenate via the hydrotherapy cycle, all while outdoors – whether in the brisk temperatures or basking in the sunshine – is what the Nordic Spa is all about; Alberta was made for this concept”.

The group was encouraged by the enthusiasm of last year’s The Edmonton Project. The idea for a downtown public sauna spa near downtown in the river valley became the “People’s Choice.”  

“We think the city is ready for Edmonton Nordic Spa”, says Van Weelden. It’s time to bring an Edmontonian interpretation of this increasingly trending pastime to our city and start to make the very most of how we spend time within it – during each season.”

Click to learn more about Edmonton Nordic Spa.

View photos from the Kananaskis Nordic Spa. Photo credit Travel Alberta & Mike Seehagel.

President Todayville Inc., Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Board Member Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) Musician, Photographer, Former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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Alberta

German Fitness Trainer Finds Himself Stuck in Calgary – And Making the Best of It!

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Cultures collide as COVID-19’s descent on the world leaves personal trainer global adventurer Darian Bessell stuck in Calgary. 

Originally from Germany, Darian has been travelling the world for the last year and a half, landing in Canada in February with plans to stay and work for a year. After getting all his permits in place and obtaining a work visa, he was hired by one of the major gyms in Calgary as a personal trainer. Unfortunately, he was immediately laid off after COVID-19 hit the city.

Seeing the situation as an opportunity to strike out on his own, Darian began offering his services as a personal trainer online, offering free consultations by Zoom or in person. His first client, Matt Keay, connected with Darian during his search for a way to improve health and mobility as well as mental wellbeing in his demanding role as a CEO. 

“I look over at my two-year-old daughter and she’ll be holding a squat position playing with toys for nearly an hour, totally natural for her,” says Keay, “why can’t I do that?” Keay suffers from sore hips and wrists due to years of abuse from skateboarding and poor diet. This proves difficult, as his role as a leader demands high performance and consistent energy.

“I’ve got training every day with Darian … well, it’s more like all day long,” says Matt, “I’ve heard people say how fitness is a lifestyle, well I really understand that now. I am standing more at my desk, doing more stretches, busting into a squat in the boardroom and the pain I’ve dealt with for years is melting away.”

Darian Bessell, newly appointed Business on Camera Director of Physical and Mental Health will bring health and wellness to high-performance entrepreneurs in Calgary. “The knowing-doing gap is a worldwide common issue,” offers Bessell, “people know that enjoying nuts as a snack is healthier than a chocolate bar, and they know the way they feel physically could be better. Often some simple support tools to improve mobility can have a huge impact on overall fitness and hold the key to a new healthy lifestyle.”

The human body sends signals that it is in poor condition by aching and demonstrating discomfort.  The mind also sends signals, for example, feeling depressed or tired all the time. Most people know that they have to change something, but it is all too easy to get caught up in routines and maintain bad habits. 

“Most people have the desire to do more for their mental and physical health, so why not just do it then?”

Health and fitness is one of the most flooded industries on the market with new gadgets, diets and methods constantly emerging, leaving no shortage of options when it comes to personal health. 

“Choosing to work with Darian was based on the education he had regarding the symbioses between mental health and physical performance, nutrition and mobility. He often referred to a program created by Dr. Kelly Starrett called “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” continues Keay, “a ton of professional athletes and stunt actors are Supple Leopards; I would describe it as intentional and intuitive.  For me at this time, the goal is to feel better everywhere, increase mobility, energy, and mood in under thirty minutes a day.”

Darian’s goal is to help individuals overcome the disconnect between desire and action by cultivating discipline and a strong commitment to health and happiness in his clients. “People have to take a huge step to get over the gap between knowing what is good for them and really having the discipline to do it,” says Bessell, “Human beings get used to things so fast and fall into a cycle of ‘I need to do something about that’, then continue to ignore it, and fall into the deep hole between knowing and doing.”

 

Darian gives people that much-needed kick in the butt. By helping clients reposition their approach to fitness and replace negative habits with positive changes, his program addresses physical and mental wellbeing, leaving clients feeling better than ever. “Other benefits include better sleep, more focus and better work-life balance,” says Darian, “it is all about implementing a holistic approach to health to get your body in an efficient, healthy position, and maintain it with intentional practice.”

Keay is thrilled with his results and excited to see where the program takes him. “I am constantly paying attention to my body now,” he says,  “the way I sit, the way I walk, engaging my core, doing a squat instead of bending over to pick something up…it’s really had a tremendous impact on my ability to move properly, and we’re just getting started.”

Darian can be reached by phone at 403-478-3836 or [email protected]

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Arts

Universal Pictures to release #Yeg produced Doc, Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo

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Adam Scorgie (39), is a self-described, “producer, creative hustler, indie filmmaker”. In his movie and TV career that has spanned almost two decades now, he has also been, a voice, dancer, movie and soap opera actor, line-writer, fundraiser, production manager, co-producer, producer, executive producer, equipment sherpa, camera operator, husband, father and more.

While having a tireless, relentless work ethic, believing in himself, his team and taking big chances, is nothing new for Scorgie, the owner multi-award-winning, Edmonton based Score G Productions. He is not one to get too far ahead of what might be in his next professional script.

Adam Scorgie and Danny Trejo

Will Universal Pictures’ world-wide release of Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo, be the Alberta film producer’s big break-out film?

Scorgie, sported a big smile while contemplating his response to being asked if the deal with one of the “big six” Hollywood studios will make him an overnight success? The already, highly acclaimed documentary film maker, energetically deflected, “I am just honoured to have contributed to and be part of a great team.” One of those team members being his long-time collaborators, Vancouver based director, Brett Harvey.

While Scorgie has a two-decade long list of supporters and backers that he does like to thank. Explaining that ‘any success in this business’ is great, he got more serious, “It isn’t about any one production, over another, my proudest accomplishment is my family.” Lead by his wife and mother of three children, Lauren Scorgie.

“What are you doing in Edmonton?” That is something Scorgie hears ‘a lot’ of when travelling to different parts of the world while either working on, fundraising, planning or promoting whatever projects he has in the soup.

Mentor Don Metz gives Adam Scorgie a hug

The B.C., born and raised Scorgie use to answer, “Because I had a chance to come to Alberta to work with Aquila Productions, the job that really changed my life and career.” Expanding, “Working and learning with owner, Don Metz along with Michael Bobroff and Gord Redel was essential for me and my team to get stability and to take that next step.” Adding, “Now I just answer, women’s hockey. There is no better city with the supports, teams, coaches, the U of A Pandas’ programs.”

Turns out, Adam is not only headline grabber in the Scorgie family. His now, 13-year-old daughter Riley, scored 50 goals in 19 games when she was just 11. Garnering the young girl local and international coverage of her own. Including, ESPN’s Best Player in the World of the Week award.

It was not the Wayne Gretzky type numbers she posted that got her international media coverage. It was the fact that she so beat the odds by quickly overcoming a rare and debilitating medical emergency. The family was blind-sided when the youngster struck down by Guillain-Barre syndrome. Leaving her unable to walk or stand-up without supports.

The syndrome uses a person’s immune system to attack the nerves. It starts with weakness and tingling in the extremities, that can quickly spread, paralyzing the bodies proper functions.

Riley Scorgie

While Riley continued to go through a battery of tests, the doctors explained to the stunned and distraught parents that all was not lost. They were told she could recover, “It would take time, a lot of care and physiotherapy.” Adding, “She would not be able to play hockey for at least a year.” The pre-teen flat-out rejected that idea.

Showing the Scorgie family fighting spirit. She quickly became like one of her dad’s featured documentary subjects. Working through treatments as hard as she could to get back. Her dad explained it didn’t stop there, “Holding the rail, she started slowly taking stairs one at a time. Soon, she would then go up and down the stairs without using the railing to try to get her legs working, her balance and back.”

To everyone’s surprise, even while still experiencing weakness and balance issues, she was back on her skates within weeks. The budding star made a team on the last day of try-out and the rest of her scoring feat is history.

Proud papa explains, “We were just glad to see her walk again, in a way this has been a blessing for her. She learned at a young age that nothing you want in life is achieved easily. You hit roadblocks and you have to work through them.” Continuing, “When I talk at panels, I always say that there are no over-night successes. It is a long road, it is a lot of hard work, with roadblocks, disappointments and that you have to take a lot of chances.”

Rejections is another tip Scorgie shares during industry Q&A’s, “Our movies have been commercially successful, but I’ve lost count of how many Film Festivals we have been turned down by every year. I tell everyone to never give up.”

His team’s long list of rejections to be shown at international film festivals include, Inmate #1; The Rise of Danny Trejo.

One of Danny Trejo’s most memorable characters, Isador Cortez, better known as Machete

Scorgie explains why this release announcement is such a big deal for any full-length documentary maker, “In its 108-year history, Universal Pictures has only released 70 documentaries like this (world-wide).” Happily adding, “The official Universal Pictures trailer, has already had over a million views.”

For those movie fans that like to look for local landmarks, you will have to know what the inside of the old Remand Centre (closed April 2013) and the Panther Gym look like, “Danny came to Edmonton, some boxing shots that made the cut, where in Panthers gym.” Adding, “All of the sit-down prison interviews with Danny are from the old Remand Centre.”  Lots of love for Alberta, the staff was awesome, love the blue-collar approach from the Alberta film industry, the minimal egos and continued support, is why I continue to produce out of Edmonton.”

Movie fans might see something they know, the inside of the old Remand Centre and the Panther Gym where scenes were filmed.

So, what’s next for the Score G Productions team? “We have a documentary on UFC Hall of Famer, Michael Bisping in post-production.” Scorgie said adding, “Plus we have docs on Arturo Gatti and Roy Jones Jr. in production.”

Scorgie asked to add one last important shout out for a long-time supporter and to also add a tip for Canadian TV audiences, “I wouldn’t have a career and our production team wouldn’t be successful without Super Channel’s amazing support over the years. Super Channel is key for indie Canadian filmmakers and support better than ANY other network in Canada PERIOD!” Adding for those that want to watch the film early, “I highly recommend Canadians support local and subscribe to Super Channel. A bonus is that it’s the only place in the world where you can currently watch or stream Inmate #1; The Rise of Danny Trejo.”

Synopsis.  Inmate #1; The Rise of Danny Synopsis
The Trejo documentary features the radical ups-and-downs this amazing and tirless 75-year-old. The film takes the audience through the life of one of the scarcest looking bad guys in the history of cinema. Weaving through never-before-seen visuals and personal testimony and stories from Danny, his closest family, friends, movie stars and producers. The movie shows how the LA born Trejo goes from a life of drugs, armed robbery, hard prison time, overcome his demons, becoming a champion boxer in San Quentin, through to the red carpets of some of his 400+ Hollywood credits, to helping troubled addicts, a successful business owner and community leader. For over 50 years of sobriety, Trejo’s personal mission and debt to society is to pay it forward and give back to his community every single day. The Hollywood icon has become a symbol of hope to people around the world.

Other award winning projects Adam Scorgie has worked on

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